Separation anxiety can happen with young children and pets. When a baby spends so much time clinging on to you and being near you, they eventually form an attachment. This attachment is noticed about 7 to 8 months in, when the baby starts being able to tell apart adults from each other. They will recognize you and when you’re leaving the room, and then throw a fit.
Separation anxiety is a good thing in some aspects, as the baby is learning how to bond with their parents. If your baby doesn’t share any bond whatsoever, this may be a cause for alarm. However, it can be frustrating when your baby throws a fit because you have to leave the room. They don’t quite understand that you will be back, and assume that because you left the room, you’re gone forever. Babies and toddlers don’t exactly run on logic, after all.
Separation Anxiety And Sleep
Separation anxiety can damage a baby’s sleep. When a baby isn’t near their parents, they may wake up quite a bit and be upset. You may notice this in the 8-10 months stage of the baby, where sleep regression can happen. Sleep regression is when the baby was once a heavy sleeper, but now they are waking up more frequently, leading to you being a little frustrated. You may feel like your baby is making a power play with you.
This anxiety does come and go. After a while, your baby may realize that all is well and go back to sleep, but then they may have another case of sleep regression at 18 months, and then two years. Sometimes, separation anxiety lasts for much longer, and may even last all during their toddlerhood. It can be frustrating when you have to put your toddler to bed and all they do is scream and cry. Why can’t the toddler just sleep and realize that everything is going to be okay? As your nights get more sleepless, you may not know what to do. It is a challenge. Luckily, we have a few solutions.
Tips On How To Beat Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety can be a good thing, as we said. It confirms that your baby has a deep attachment to you, but when you’re struggling to get sleep, you may wonder if there’s any way for you to defeat it. Well, we do have some good news. There are some ways to beat separation anxiety, and we have a few of them right now. They won’t be foolproof, and it will still take time, but by doing these, you can prevent it from growing worse.
Make Sure the Bedtime Routine Is Soothing
You want to have a good, consistent bedtime routine that’s as soothing as possible. Dim the lights, have your child take a nice, hot bath, and let them relax as best as possible. Read them a bedtime story, avoid any screens, and they should be able to fall asleep quite well. Practice the same sleep ritual as you do, and it may help your baby quite a bit.
As you put your baby to bed, remain calm and relaxed, even if your little one decides to throw a fit. Your child may see you being upset as a sign that something is wrong. By remaining calm, it can rub off on your baby and allow them to fall asleep much easier. Raising a fuss can make your baby raise a fuss, and make the problem a whole lot worse.
When you leave, make sure that you don’t sneak away in a way that can upset your baby. Some parents will leave when the toddler looks drowsy, but this can cause your toddler to fear bedtime even more. Leaving suddenly can make your toddler feel like they don’t know what to do, and it’s something you don’t want to make a habit of.
Instead, what you should do is tell your child goodnight and then leave with them seeing you do so. This can help you out in the long run. Make the goodnights friendly, reassuring, but firm as well, and it can help you with any problems you have.
Comforting Your Child When They Are Upset
When your baby wakes up in the middle of the night and is crying, you may wonder what the battle plan is. Wait it out and hope the kid falls asleep? This sounds tempting, but it’s not the best move. Comfort your child for a good while and sing them a song? Not that, either. Doing this can create a bad habit. You don’t want to stay for too long, but ignoring it isn’t a plan, either.
Instead, you should make sure you comfort your child, but do it very briefly and then leave. Again, you may feel the temptation to sleep next to them or invite the child in your room, but that’s not the best plan of action. Make it short, sweet, and to the point, and it can help your child out in the long run. Just make sure your child isn’t making a total habit out of it.
Separation anxiety is definitely frustrating, but please don’t give in. Yelling at your baby or trying to give in and always be with them can create some bad habits. Eventually, this phase will pass, with the baby being able to fall asleep without your help. It can be a challenge, but you can do it.
Separation anxiety at night is another battle against your sleep your baby can wage war on, and like any battle, you need to remain calm and not lose your cool. It can feel hard to do so, but by following some basic rules, you can be able to do it.
Until then, make sure that you aren’t being too harsh, or too giving in, and your baby can have a restful night and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.
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